Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Should Supplementary Schools be located in DAY Schools?

Dr. Erica Brown, who is the scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, posted the following question to the Lookjed discussion group this week:
What if we situated Hebrew schools in Jewish day schools and not in synagogues? Sounds preposterous? Never been done? All the more reason to give it some thought. Today, day schools in America are a fast-growing educational movement. People who never sent their kids to day schools are reconsidering, and synagogue movements that promoted public school education now have their own affiliate day schools. With all of the enhancements in recruitment, attendance and quality of day school education, there is a community educational orphan that we can no longer afford to neglect: congregational schools.
She goes on to write:
Instead of using weak teachers with little background in Hebrew schools, imagine having the elementary division of day schools using some of their finest teachers, resources and even day school students to participate in a much more content-rich program for public school students when the regular school day is done. Sure there are plenty of practical details to iron out, but many day schools use their facilities for Jewish camping in the summer or rent out auditoriums for community functions. Why not have the day school become the real educational center for the community at large?

You can read the entirety of her text, and the thread of responses, here.


Shuli said...

I'm not a huge fan of supplementary schools, but find this idea intriguing.

Unknown said...

Well, first it would put me out of a job! But putting my own needs to the side, I do question whether it would be prudent to take the supplementary school out of the synagogue. There's something special about the connection between Religious School and synagogue; spirituality can be fostered in a different way there than in a day school environment.